Despite the fact that starting any new business often comes with overcoming financial hurdles, working up the courage to start can often be the hardest part in and of itself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the work that goes into running a business. The thought of hiring employees, managing the day-to-day operations, and trying to turn a profit can be a lot to juggle. However, I have discovered a local entrepreneur that dispels many of the myths centered on running a successful, and environmentally sustainable, business.
“As within so without” is a universal law. What’s going on outside of us is often times identical to what’s going on inside of us. Reflections are everywhere. So it makes perfect sense that, in this time of overflowing landfills and homes bursting with too much stuff, our own internal trash receptacles, that is to say, our livers, are being inundated with an abundance of waste
I watched the man through the window stretch a length of dough arms width apart, bring the ends together, twist it, slap it on his work table, then repeat the process until the noodles were ready to be cooked. These noodles were about to be my dinner.
When I turned nineteen, a whole new world of food was opened up to me through the People’s Food Co-Op. Although my aunt and father had been members since the 1970s, and I was somewhat knowledgeable about natural food diets, I certainly did not know what the heck to do with a salty paste made of fermented soy beans, rice, or barley. I had enjoyed miso soup in Japanese restaurants, but that was not the best introduction, as it was thin and lacked vegetables and other ingredients we now use more abundantly, such as shiitake mushrooms, soba noodles, seaweed, lotus root, dried fish, and fermented vegetables. As western society’s knowledge of the world of natural foods has matured, thanks in part to the growing “foodie culture,” we have widened our awareness of whole food cooking and ingredients.
Oran Hesterman is 67, but moves with the vigor and energy of a much younger man. He is trim, with a full head of salt and pepper hair, and his complexion is that of a man who has spent a lot of time outdoors. He speaks thoughtfully, choosing his words carefully. Listening to him answer questions about Fair Food Network (FFN), the organization he founded in 2009, and about which he must have conversed many times, with many people, you still have the sense that he is freshly thinking through his answers.
Like many people, I find myself on a tight budget when it comes to eating out. While I desire to eat organic, whole, and clean foods, I tend to seek out restaurants where I can either have breakfast, lunch, or “happy hour” for around ten dollars. Because of this dilemma, I eat out less and prepare more meals from food we have raised and grown ourselves. But when I do want to dine out, I now understand my grandparent’s penchant for the “Early Bird Special.”
Chive Kitchen’s menu is not sparse by any means, and I think it will surprise a lot of non-vegans. Take, for example, the oatmeal cream pie on the dessert menu with its “buttery oatmeal cookie” and “vanilla bean buttercream” filling. Or the orange cream cupcake with orange-infused buttercream. They have unique items, too, such as the kombucha float made with coconut ice cream (which is creamier than dairy ice cream, for the record). I would have tried one if I hadn’t been so full!
Driving on Gratiot headed toward Mt. Elliott Street, I was in the heart of downtown Detroit, just a mile or so away from Ford Field. It seems only small businesses are here, a Mr. Fish and a crowded shop selling second hand furniture, likely for a charity. In this place on this map, blocks of the grid are disappearing. Fallow fields sit waiting in their place. I pulled up to a bright brick church anchored strong amidst open green plots and dilapidated, boarded-up structures. There is a man sitting on a milkcrate. He is sentinel of this corner.